Michael J. Malone
Douglas County Law Library

Judicial and Law Enforcement Center
111 East 11th Street
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
info@douglascolawlibrary.org
Phone: (785) 838-2477
Fax: (785) 838-2455

History of the Michael J. Malone Douglas County Law Library



In the closing years of the 20th century, members of the local legal community perceived a growing need for a law library to serve the attorneys and general public in Douglas County. In the fall of 2000, the Honorable Michael J. Malone, then Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial District, proposed to the Bench/Bar Committee of the Douglas County Bar Association that it consider establishing a county law library. The Committee decided to ask local attorneys if there was enough interest to move forward with the proposal. The Committee appointed a six-member subcommittee to coordinate and conduct an election on establishing a law library, pursuant to the requirements set forth in K.S.A. 20-3126(b).

On February 26, 2001, the committee held an election among local attorneys, asking whether or not a county law library should be established. The attorneys voted 109 in favor and 12 against, thereby approving the establishment of a library.

According to statute, the five sitting district court judges, the Honorable Michael J. Malone, the Honorable Robert Fairchild, the Honorable Paula B. Martin, the Honorable Jack A. Murphy, and the Honorable Jean F. Shepherd, became members of a board of trustees for the newly approved law library. Since the five members constituted a quorum of the new Douglas County Law Library Board of Trustees, they immediately held a meeting by e-mail on February 27-28, 2001. The board passed a motion that set the attorney representation on the Board at four members, two more than the statutory requirement that no fewer than two attorney members be elected to two-year terms on a county law library board. In addition, the board set the law library docket fees that are authorized in K.S.A. 20-3129, with collection to begin in March of 2001.

The board held an election to fill the four attorney positions on the board of trustees in May of 2001. Douglas County attorneys elected David J. Brown, Kay Huff, Margie Wakefield, and Charles Whitman, all of whom had been members of the Bench/Bar election subcommittee, to serve on the board.

The board held its first regular meeting on May 31, 2001. At that meeting, the Honorable Michael J. Malone was elected President of the Board, and Margie Wakefield was elected Secretary, both by acclimation. The board set the annual Law Library Registration Fee for local attorneys at the statutory minimum of $10.00 and authorized Doug Hamilton, Clerk of the Douglas County District Court and, according to stature, Treasurer of the Law Library, to begin collecting the fee pursuant to K.S.A 20-3126(c).

Over the next year and a half, the board researched and investigated the necessities of opening and operating a law library, including the finding of a suitable location for the library and the hiring of a law librarian. The Judicial and Law Enforcement Center was undergoing renovation during that time, which allowed some flexibility in identifying a space for the library to occupy. The board chose an area on the south side of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center and next to the south entrance of the building as the location for the future library. The space had previously been part of the Citizen Review Board offices. Construction began to adapt the space for library use. During the summer of 2002, the board conducted a search for a law librarian with Kerry Altenbernd eventually being hired to fill the position. He began work on October 1, 2002, as the first Douglas County Law Librarian.

The board and the law librarian worked for the next seven months to finish renovation of the space, outfit the library, and otherwise make it ready for opening. A ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 1, 2003, marked the official opening of the Douglas County Law Library. On June 18, 2003, a new electronic key system became operational and made the library accessible to registered attorneys 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At its January 15, 2004, meeting, the board of trustees voted in favor of allowing local artists to exhibit their works in the law library. As part of the celebration of the first anniversary of the law library, the Douglas County Law Library Art Gallery opened on April 30, 2004, with an exhibition of photography by local attorney Hudson Luce. Exhibits by other artists followed monthly thereafter.

In its 2004 session, the Kansas Legislature authorized the addition of a sixth district judge to the Seventh Judicial District. With the swearing in of the Honorable Stephen N. Six to that position on February 4, 2005, the membership of the library board increased to ten.

The addition of a sixth judge to the board caused its members to become concerned that the balance between attorneys and judges on the board might be disrupted. To mitigate any imbalance, at its January 20, 2005, meeting, the board approved the addition of a fifth attorney member to serve on the board. It was decided to fill that new position in the biennial attorney member election scheduled for that spring.

In the spring 2005 election, David J. Brown, Kay Huff, and Charles Whitman were reelected to the board. Shelley K. Bock and Stephanie J. Haggard were newly elected to the board. The five took office on May 1, 2005, the addition of one new attorney member bringing the total membership on the board to eleven. At the July 21, 2005, board meeting, Stephanie J. Haggard assumed the duties of Secretary of the Board.

In the spring 2007 election, Stephanie J. Haggard and Charles Whitman were reelected to the board. Martin L. Miller, Carolyn Simpson, and Kenzie Singleton were newly elected to the board. The five took office on May 1, 2007. At the July 19, 2007, board meeting Carolyn Simpson assumed the duties of Secretary of the Board.

On January 18, 2008, Judge Six resigned from his judgeship to be appointed to the office of Kansas Attorney General to fill the unexpired term of Paul Morrison. Judge Six had been a member of the Douglas County Law Library Board of Trustees for three years, since his appointment as district judge, and his resignation as judge opened a position on the Board.

On March 31, 2008, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius chose Judge Peggy C. Kittel, at the time serving as Judge Pro Tem in the Seventh Judicial District, to replace Judge Six on the bench. On April 9th, 2008, the Honorable Peggy C. Kittel was sworn in as District Judge in Division VI of the Seventh Judicial District of Kansas. With her swearing in as district judge, she became a member of the Law Library's Board of Trustees.

In 2008, Judge Jack A. Murphy decided to retire from his position as Judge in Division II, a position he had held since 1994, and so did not stand for retention in the November 4, 2008, general election. A search was begun to choose his successor and on December 12, 2008, Kansas Governor Sebelius chose local Lawrence attorney Sally D. Pokorny to fill the judgeship. Judge Murphy's last day on the bench was January 12, 2009. By retiring from the judgeship, he also retired from his position on the Law Library's Board of Trustees, a position he had held since its creation in 2001. On January 15, 2009, Judge Pokorny was sworn in as District Judge in Division II of the Seventh Judicial District of Kansas. With her swearing in as district judge, the Honorable Sally D. Pokorny became a member of the Law Library's Board of Trustees.

In the spring 2009 election, Kenzie Singleton, Charles Whitman, and Stephanie J. Wilson, who had previously changed her name from Haggard, were reelected to the board. Jody Meyer and Craig A. Stancliffe were newly elected to the board. The five took office on May 1, 2009. At the July 16, 2009 board meeting, Craig A. Stancliffe assumed the duties of Secretary of the Board.

In 2010, Judge Jean F. Shepherd decided to retire from her position as Judge in Division III, a position that she had held since 1984, and so did not stand for retention in the November 2, 2010, general election. Judge Shepherd's last day on the bench was January 7, 2011. By retiring from the judgeship, she also retired from her position on the Law Library's Board of Trustees, a position she had held since its creation in 2001. To fill the opening on the bench, Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson chose local Lawrence attorney Kay Huff from a pool of three names submitted to him by a search committee. On January 14, 2011, Judge Huff was sworn in as District Judge in Division III of the Seventh Judicial District of Kansas. With her swearing in as district judge, the Honorable Kay Huff rejoined the Law Library's Board of Trustees, on which she had served three terms as an attorney member, from 2001 to 2007.

In the spring 2011 election, Jody Meyer, Craig A. Stancliffe, and Charles Whitman, were reelected to the board. Julia V. Bellemere and Hatem Chahine were newly elected to the board. The five took office on May 1, 2011. At the July 21, 2011 board meeting, Julia V. Bellemere assumed the duties of Secretary of the Board.

In the spring 2013 election, Julia V. Bellemere, Hatem Chahine, Jody Meyer, and Charles Whitman were reelected to the board. Sarah Warner was newly elected to the board. The five took office on May 1, 2013. At the board's July 18, 2013, meeting, the Honorable Michael J. Malone stepped down from serving as President of the Board, a position he had held since May 31, 2001. Charles Whitman was unanimously elected as the new President. In addition, Sarah Warner assumed the duties of Secretary of the Board.

In late spring of 2014, the Honorable Michael J. Malone announced his retirement from his position as Judge in Division IV, a position that he had held since 1982. At its July 18, 2014, meeting, the Law Library Board renamed the Law Library to be the Michael J. Malone Douglas County Law Library. This was done to honor his being the driving force behind the creation and development of the Library. The name change became effective on August 28, 2014, when it was announced publically at a bar dinner held in Judge Malone's honor. His last day on the bench in Douglas County was August 29, 2014. By retiring from the judgeship, Judge Malone also left his position on the Law Library's Board of Trustees, a position he had held since its creation in 2001. To fill the opening on the bench, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback chose Assistant Douglas County District Attorney James R. McCabria from a pool of three names submitted to him by a search committee. On December 8, 2014, Judge McCabria was sworn in as District Judge in Division IV of the Seventh Judicial District of Kansas by his predecessor, the Honorable Michael J. Malone. With his swearing in as district judge, the Honorable James R. McCabria joined the Law Library's Board of Trustees.


For more information, contact the Law Library at: info@douglascolawlibrary.org.


Comments to: Webmaster: Kerry Altenbernd, Law Librarian, Michael J. Malone Douglas County Law Library, Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 East 11th Street, Lawrence, KS  66044.

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Created: June 3, 2005; Revised: December 12, 2014